Owned by Dakis Joannou, an eminent collector of modern art, the philosophy of Yes! Hotels is Young, Enthusiastic and Seductive and denotes a commitment to creating a new form of art in hospitality;
Semiramis Hotel was the first YES! Hotel to say YES to bold design, superior luxury and exceptional service. It was designed by Karim Rashid as a fusion of Rashid’s loud refusal to embrace mundane functionality and Joannou’s dedication to the modern art world.
Semiramis encapsulates an aspirational and ambitious notion of design in the thriving area of Kifissia, a stylish, well-heeled suburb of Athens. It is the epitome of a 21st century creation, surprisingly and seamlessly fusing art and practicality in its 51 guest rooms.
Designed to appeal to art enthusiasts of all ages, Semiramis has an innovative approach to combining texture, materials and colour.
The striking palette of lime, pink, orange, yellow and white is the canvas upon which Rashid projected glass tiles, terrazzo floors, custom coloured carpets, patterned wall coverings and coloured glass walls. Works from Joannou’s extensive art collection including pieces by Jeff Koons, Sue Websterand Tim Noble can be viewed at the Semiramis’ bi-annually rotating exhibition in the public spaces.
Given free rein to create a total experience, Karim used his signature curvaceous forms and lollipop colours to offer a young, enthusiastic and seductive alternative to more traditional conceptions of hospitality, playing happily alongside a rotating collection of contemporary fine art, handpicked by owner and art collector Dakis Joannou.
Semiramis is a feast for the eyes for any guest: With an extra element of cheekiness, guests are encouraged to play with Rashid’s device for communicating with the outside world. Instead of the boring “Do Not Disturb” signs, he offers electronic message boards, which guests can personalise from their in-room keyboards.
He describes his overall view of Semiramis as “an intimate hotel that focuses on positive energy, heightened experiences, culture, design, and art. Semiramis is a place for new contemporary experiences – to enjoy, relax, work, and engage a new memorable experience unlike any other or anywhere else in the world.”
Thanks to its location on the slopes of Mount Pendeli—with a more moderate climate than Athens’s center—Kifissia has a long-standing reputation as an exclusive escape for the moneyed set. Once a philosophers’ retreat and then home to the military outposts of the USA, Germany, and Britain, the area still tailors to its clientele with a plethora of exclusive indulgences, such as fine restaurants and upscale bars.
Semiramis’ guest-rooms, suites, and poolside bungalows utilise creative materials (like the opaque glass bathroom walls) and playful design such as the light-box art installations behind each bed.
Rashid’s mark is on everything from the slippers under the bed to the custom-made carpeting. Offering enticing alternatives to traditional ideas of hospitality design, the designer has dispensed with the use of room numbers, identifying each guest-room with custom-designed symbols.
The rooms and bungalows at Semiramis overlook a plush park, the Kefalari neighbourhood, or the popular swimming pool. Services here even include secretarial support.
New season finds Semiramis atmospheric all-day restaurant and Freud Oriental, a Japanese restaurant in Kolonaki, co-existing under the same roof.Japanese minimal food culture meets creative Mediterranean cuisine “raising the bar” even higher and keeping guests culinarily thrilled.
The culinary concept: An unparalleled gastronomic experience that celebrates the diversity and commonality of Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.
Inspired dishes that follow international gastronomic trends and top quality ingredients, all cooked with passion, offer its affluent clientele a culinary journey of eclectic Japanese flavors, tantalising their taste buds at one of the best restaurants in Kefalari.
WELLNESS & SPA
The colourful swimming pool, shaped in one of Karim Rashid’s trademark fluid curves, is a unique creation.
Miami style glamour meets upscale design, with the flowing, landscaped sunbathing decks ideally arranged for daytime lounging. A mosaic water fountain adds a decadent touch, with guests soaking up the sun in the luxurious white sun-beds. Overlooking the swimming pool, the Gym Club boasts state-of-the-art fitness equipment and tasteful changing rooms. A popular spot for fitness pros and amateurs alike, its wellness facilities include a steam bath and massage rooms.
Juicy colours and lively light
Flying in the face of Athens’ classical architectural tradition, Semiramis features such delights as pink and orange glass partitions, green box balconies, and rubber floors. Commissioned by art patron Dakis Joannou, Semiramis is entirely the creation of Egyptian-British industrial designer Karim Rashid.
Hot pinks, lime greens, and bright oranges characterise the interiors, while the furniture comes in a stunning array of shapes, sizes, and textures.
Bold color schemes and Rashid’s signature furniture – including his Wavelength Sofa and Swing Chair – give this hotel its distinct look. Juicy pinks, oranges, greens and yellows make up the hotel’s energising color scheme, tinting everything from lobby couches to transparent glass partitions in the rooms. A lively lighting concept has been especially commissioned from Focus Lighting in New York, under the direction of principal designer Paul Gregory.
Dakis Joannou, the hardworking owner of Yes! Hotels, is one of the foremost collectors of contemporary European art in Greece.